The Wild Seasons series by Christina Lauren is a 4-book series. I’m reviewing the first three, and won’t likely be reading on to the fourth. This in no way means that the first three aren’t great.
Sweet Filthy Boy is the first in the series. Three childhood friends have just graduated college and take a weekend in Las Vegas to celebrate. Mia is the main protagonist of this installment. She has a distant relationship with her parents and is dreading moving to Boston in the Fall to begin business school. She had dreams of becoming a dancer but an accident in high school left her unable to perform the ballet that she loves. Harlow and Lola, her best friends, are supportive but baffled by her choice to pursue a degree in business when she doesn’t seem to want to do it. At the hotel bar Mia makes brief eye contact with a handsome stranger. Later that evening after her friends have fallen asleep she encounters him again in the hotel hallway and finds herself interested despite her initial misgivings. Another encounter with this guy and his two friends leads to a wild night in which all three friends end up married. Mia marries Ansel, the mystery man from the first night across the bar. He is a French lawyer and after their impetuous Vegas wedding they decide to take a risk and spend the summer together in Paris to see if their marriage can work out. After some initial rough patches, they find that their relationship- both emotional and physical- is worth the work.
Dirty Rowdy Thing focuses on Mia and Ansel’s friends Harlow and Finn. Harlow’s mother is an actress and her father a movie producer. She has a pretty pampered life in La Jolla working part-time as an intern for NBC and with plenty of disposable income. Finn is a fisherman in Canada. They married during the crazy Vegas weekend from book one but got the marriage annulled the next day. Harlow had made an impromptu trip to visit Finn just for a hookup. They had a great time but the visit ended on a sour note when he sent her in a cab back to the airport. After months apart they bump in to each other when Finn is in town to visit his friend and Harlow’s animosity soon gives way to lust. This couple also has to overcome several misunderstandings before ultimately finding their happy ending.
Wild Dark Nights continues the friend hook-ups with Lola and Oliver, the last of the trio who married in Vegas. Alone amongst their friends, Lola and Oliver didn’t consummate their hours-long marriage. They have settled in to a comfortable friendship based on their shared love of comics. Lola has just had her first graphic novel published and film optioned; Oliver has recently opened a comic book store in San Diego. They are both in love with the other but afraid of acting their feelings and upsetting the balance of their friendship. When the finally do come together they are split up quickly by Lola’s fear of commitment and being overwhelmed by her work load.
The fourth book in the series involves two minor characters that I don’t feel invested enough in to pick it up. The first three books are well written with great characterization and the sex scenes are really well written. Each of the characters has their own kink and they are believable as people.
Skin, on the other hand, is a mess. I got this as a free ebook through Google Play Books. This is the first in a series and I nearly didn’t finish this one so I certainly won’t be reading the rest. The premise is that two people in a week-long intensive group therapy session end up falling in love. Tania is in therapy to get over the emotional trauma of her rape at age 12. Kane is in therapy to get over his rage at women which developed after his (now ex-)wife had an abortion without telling him. Their extremely negligent therapist pairs all participants off and somehow the man with rage issues is paired with the rape victim who hasn’t been in a room with a man for twelve years. Of course the two of them end of having sex, and this is only one of several massive problems with this book. Kane, the super-sensitive paragon of maleness, responds to his sex partner’s cry of ‘no-I can’t-stop’ by thinking that he will absolutely not stop having sex with her and in fact refusing to pull out. Women are repeatedly referred to as “females” (this is a massive pet peeve of mine) and Kane’s brother’s name changes a couple times in the first couple of chapters. The dialogue is wooden and the characters are sloppily written. Don’t bother with this one.